March Madness Cinderellas: What is the lowest seed to win an NCAA tournament title?

Photo of author

Villanova University players and coaches celebrate a 59-55 NCAA Tournament victory over Michigan.

Villanova players and coaches celebrate their 1985 victory over Michigan in the NCAA tournament regional final. (Rob Burns/Associated Press)

Take heart, possible Cinderella stories and bracket busters.

The odds are not in your favor at the end of the first week, but history offers you the North Star, a tiny glimmer of hope that anything is possible. On April Fools’ Day, 1985, eighth-seeded Villanova became – and remains – lowest seed to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship, when it defeated top-seeded Georgetown, 66–64.

The Wildcats reached the finals without reaching 60 points in any of their last five tournament games, which included losses to the No. 1 seed (Michigan), two No. 2s (North Carolina and Memphis) and No. 5 (Maryland). Its closest call, it turned out, was a two-point win over ninth-seeded Dayton in the opening round.

The victory over a then-dominant Hoyas squad led by Patrick Ewing has been described as a perfect game, although, it should be noted, Villanova turned the ball over 17 times. taking advantage of college basketball last year without shot clock, the Wildcats attempted only 28 field goals, knocking out 22 of them. Cinderella didn’t start with Wildcats, but no program has inspired more work in terms of the term.

In the 36-season history of the 64-team men’s tournament, 23 top seeds have won the title, followed by five No. 2 seeds and four No. 3 seeds. In addition to the Wildcats’ championship, the rest of the tournament has been captured by No. 4 (Arizona in 1997), No. 6 (Kansas, 1988) and No. 7 (Connecticut, 2014). No five seed has won it all.

See also  Orangebloods - Texas is one of a handful of schools taking care of DT Alex Jan

Lowest seed to reach the NCAA men’s finals in the 64-team tournament era? Four No. 8 seeds: Wildcats in ’85, Butler in 2011, Kentucky in 2014 and North Carolina in 2022.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times,